Monday 22 August 2011
Funerals on Public Transport
The Oyster Card is an electronic smartcard you can use to pay for journeys on London Transport. While its designers have made travelling easier for those living in the capital, they have rather overlooked the concerns of the dead. Suddenly, the deceased are left high and dry with unusable credit.
However, there are now ideas on how to address the situation. Money you may well have put aside for a hearse (what is really a specialist, ultimate taxi service) you can spend on other things like nicer casket handles, rest assured that your Oyster Card can still get you to a cemetery near a bus or London Underground route. All you need do is chat up some pallbearers about slightly altering their plans come the day. Instead of asking them to slowly hump you around lying in a box, you could ask them to escort your corpse onto a number 73, for instance, making sure you’ve left them enough for a one-way ticket’s worth on your Oyster Card. (CLICK ON 'Read more' LINK, BELOW)
Buses are ideal, in fact. They have those luggage shelves by the side window, roughly the same place on the vehicle as where you would place the floral tributes in a hearse. One of the pallbearers can help here asking if other passengers would mind shifting up their fold-up pushchairs and Netto supermarket carrier bags to accommodate the ‘Mum’ or ‘Dad’ spelt in roses… which should also quite nicely cover up any issues relating to putrefaction, like smell.
Of course, getting a seat isn’t always possible. Especially in the rush hour, though the crawling traffic does act in your favour in some ways. The bus is forced to slow down and that ensures that traditional, processional, stately carriage feel. What you want to guarantee is a seat – what could be thought of as a temporary, travelling memorial bench. It might be as well to sound out someone influential at the sign department at London Transport and ask if they could see about amending the priority seats sign. To something like: ‘Please give up this seat to elderly or disabled people or those carrying children, or the departed’. The term ‘departed’ actually fits quite well with the travel theme.
Now and again you ding the bell to request a stop but the bus driver forgets to react and drives on past. You’re left with your pallbearers going, ‘Oh no, we’ve gone past our stop. Oi, mate!’ they shout at the driver, ‘You’ve gone past the cemetery gates’. What to do? Put by a little extra and you’re comforted in the knowledge that there’ll be another coming along going the other way.